The Raid 2: Berandal (SXSW 2014)


By: Mitch Hansch (A Toast) –

I’ve never been more audible watching a film in my entire life.  I am not a loud person at the movies, in fact, I pride myself on being quite quiet when at the cinema.  Exceptions usually occur when not only the movie but the entire audience strongly grabs hold of the director’s clear-cut vision.  I cackled uproariously when I saw The 40 Year Old Virgin and any of the Jackass films, I wailed with my fellow filmgoers when I saw Passion of the Christ, and during the The Raid 2: Berandal I hooted, hollered, and moaned to some of the most unbelievably awesome action I’ve ever witnessed.

A Toast

This film is a love letter to brutality.  If you’re not in any part interested in watching skulls get smashed in, skin slicing blade fights, or characters named Hammer Girl who are skilled with… well, I’ll avoid spoilers, then move along good kind sir or madam and go watch something else.  It’s ok, totally nothing to be ashamed of, in fact after reading that last sentence you’re the more well adjusted one if The Raid 2 isn’t your bag.  This film is a celebration for the not so well adjusted, and right now I’m cheersing my drink to the sky.

Gareth Evans dished out one of the best action films of this generation with the original Raid: Redemption.  It’s a non-stop and non-plot, furiously-paced violent extravaganza that kept its location all in one high rise building and pitted rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) against blood curdling fight on top of blood curdling fight.  If you were to try to explain the difference in the amount and content of violence between Raid: Redemption and Raid 2: Berandal in calories, Redemption would be a side garden salad with squeezed lemons for a dressing where as Raid 2 would be a huge plate of Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries that are washed down with McDonald’s Chocolate Triple Shake.

Raid 2 is an ultra-violence art.  Evans gave the sequel an additional 50 minutes of mind-blowing action from mind-boggling choreography, that in addition, has not only a plot but a very intricate one at that.  Evans, who also wrote and edited the film, is going for nothing less than the Godfather treatment.  Rama, who thought he had earned his way home to his wife and infant son after he was the last man standing at the end of the first Raid, comes to realize he’s not even close.  To protect his family from much worse people than faced off with in the original, he must go undercover, serving two years in prison, where you will witness a prison mud fight that will melt your face off, and unveil the corrupt Jakarta police along with their backers.

SXSW Selfie
SXSW Selfie

From a brilliantly designed car chase, to Warriors/Kill Bill stylized villains that consist of the aforementioned Hammer Girl along with Baseball Bat Man (I won’t give away his choice of weapon either), to the original’s crowd pleaser Mad Dog making a reappearance as a totally different character, to a gory knife fight for the ages, you will not be able to watch Raid 2 quietly, and nor should you.

…..and nor should “this”.



This may not be the Indonesian martial arts gangster equivalent to Coppola’s masterpiece, but I think its within a roundhouse’s reach.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: when anyone is killed without a gun (that should do the trick)

Down a Shot: when Mad Dog shows up.

About Mitch Hansch

One comment

  1. How could a movie this brillant and this awesome receive an average of 4.67 beers???!!!

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